Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Olive Tree

The name Olive Leaf Stencils was inspired, clearly, by the olive tree.  I saw my first olive groves when I was in Italy.  I took a little detour to Assisi on my way to Rome, which turned out to be the most wonderful excursion of my trip to Italy.  Assisi is probably best known for being the birthplace of St. Francis, who was born in 1182.  It is a little walled-in village that was built into a hillside overlooking Umbria.  Its grand basilica (Basilica di San Francesco), one of Italy's best-loved monuments, was finished in 1253, taking only 25 years to build.  For a church of its size, and back then, 25 years was a very short time.  This is a testament to how well-loved and adored St. Francis was.

Apart from the beautiful architecture and view, I loved that there was a very serene and warm feeling there.  Of course, the spring sun certainly helped.  Assisi is said to be one of those sacred places of peace.  

I wandered up to the very top, which is where I came across small olive groves.  The trees were so gorgeous with their silvery leaves and dark little fruits.  It was love at first sight!

I am so grateful for having been able to see these wonderful trees.  I live in New York, and 99% of US olives grow in California, so it would be unlikely that I would see them in the States.  Plus, walking through olive groves in Italy just seems perfect.  I love everything Olive, even the color.  How could you go wrong?  Olive oil, olive tapenade, dirty martinis, olives straight from the jar... I put olive oil in my hair once a week to condition it.  In a pinch, I've even used it as a makeup remover.  It's so good for the skin.
Olive Leaf Extract is also really great for your health.  It is an antioxidant and good for prevention.  It has been known to lower blood pressure, protect against colds, flu and viral infections.  You can also make olive leaf tea.  The dried leaf photo above is from a wonderful Etsy store that I came across: Twig & Leaf Botanicals.  They sell beautiful organic herbs.  Personally, I will always take the herbal route to curing/preventing illness rather than taking antibiotics.  If they're organic too, you're going to get great health benefits.

Here are my Olive Tree, Branch and Leaf stencils, my ode to the lovely olive tree:

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